Apple is gearing up to launch the second-gen AirPods Pro earbuds, but they are unlikely to offer health-centric tricks like heart rate monitoring.
The AirPods Pro refresh rumored to arrive later this year is said to bring a host of changes, and possibly a design makeover as well, but any new health-centric features won’t be among the upgrade list for Apple’s flagship earbuds. The first-gen AirPods Pro made their debut in 2019 but haven’t got a successor yet. However, rumors of a new model have been floating around for a while now.
The rumor mill has often speculated about sensors that will allow the second-gen AirPods Pro to measure the wearer’s heart rate. The idea is not really outlandish, as such earbuds have been around for a while now. The Bose SoundSport Pulse, Honor Earbuds 3 Pro, Jabra Sport Pulse Editions, Samsung Gear Icon X, and the Amazfit PowerBuds are just some of the options that offer the convenience of heart rate monitoring.
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But it appears that the courtesy won’t be extended to the AirPods Pro, at least not this year. According to Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman, heart rate monitoring won’t make its way to the next-gen AirPods Pro that are rumored to break cover in the fall. Additionally, the ability to measure body temperature will also be missing from Apple’s premium wireless earbuds. “Neither feature is likely to arrive in the 2022 upgrade, though both enhancements have been explored inside the company and could arrive one day,” Gurman writes in the latest edition of his PowerOn newsletter. Interestingly, temperature measurement has reportedly been locked for the Apple Watch Series 8 and its rumored rugged version.
Fresh Design, New Gestures
In February this year, Gurman reported that the AirPods Pro successor will ditch the stem in favor of a more pebble-like design seen on the Beats Studio Buds. Apple has been loyal to the stem aesthetics since the first-gen AirPods came out, and despite making some noticeable design refinements with the third iteration, the stem is still here. The likes of Samsung, on the other hand, have stayed away from the stem for its Galaxy Buds line of true wireless stereo (TWS) earbuds. It would be quite a design overhaul for the AirPods Pro to ditch the stem and go with an entirely new design. But the design refresh won’t be mere aesthetic refinement, as it will also overhaul the gesture controls on the upcoming earbuds.
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The current-gen AirPods Pro allow users to press the force sensor on the stem to play and pause music, while a double and triple press gesture skips forward and back, respectively. A press and hold gesture lets users cycle between Active Noise Cancellation and Transparency modes. With the stem gone, Apple will likely put the gesture control sensors on the main body, and might also add some swipe actions into the mix given the larger area of contact courtesy of the pebble-like design. So far, there haven’t been any reliable leaks regarding an asking price, and it is also unclear if Apple will finally add a dash of color to its earbuds lineup with the second-gen AirPods Pro.